Flamingo in Florida
Where, When and How to Enhance Your Kosher Florida Vacation with Tropical Wildlife
By: Shachne Arye Rowner
Ready to see some creatures other than you might find back home? Florida Kosher Villas is a great home-base for a nature-themed vacation, or just even to glimpse some other forms of tropical wildlife you won’t see where you live.
From the coral reefs of the Keys to the cypress swamps of the Panhandle, Florida’s diverse habitats are home to an incredible cavalcade of wildlife. Nowhere else can you see reclusive alligators, cayman crocodiles, lazy manatees, and beautifully plumed water birds all in a single day.
And while not a species considered kosher, flamingos are not an uncommon bird either to encounter over your kosher vacation either—not to mention an almost synonymous symbol of anything tropical. But it wasn’t always that way.
For much of the 20th century, encountering a flamingo in the Sunshine State was a rare treat after hunters and poachers decimated nearly all of them. Only over the recent few decades have the gangly pink waders been more frequently spotted—and in bigger groups. That, in turn, has cranked up the heat on a long-simmering debate among ornithologists: Some say Florida’s flamingos all escaped from captivity, while others contend that they’re native birds that were nearly simply wiped out by hunters in the 1800s, and are only now making a comeback.
And Flamingo populations aren’t expanding in Florida alone. Researchers have found direct evidence of birds venturing over from flocks in the Caribbean, including two flamingos that were banded in Yucatán, Mexico, and later seen in Everglades National Park. These visitors reflect successful conservation efforts in the Caribbean. Florida, for its part, is also looking more flamingo-friendly these days, thanks to recovered and protected habitat in Everglades National Park and other South Florida refuges.
But now according to the Audobon Society, it is official. The pink fluffy American flamingo has, belongs, and has always belonged right here in sunny Florida. And the key to its continued conservation and growth in the state is the need to recognize that these beautiful tropical birds are part and parcel of Florida’s ecosystem, and are not just tacky symbols of the state’s beachy tourism boosting brand.
So where are some of the best places to see these beautiful creatures on your vacation? Well, that depends on your definition of vacation. Do you prefer to make the entertainment while visiting the bountiful wildlife in the wild, in its natural habitat, or is your preference to be entertained where the animals remain contained behind glass enclosures in a zoo-like environment?
Luckily Florida offers bountiful opportunities for both ways to enjoy them.
If you prefer the first option, hike through many of Florida’s enchanted forests – havens for black bears, Florida panthers, and bobcats. Canoe or kayak along riverbanks dotted with exotic waterbirds, or relax on a guided nature cruise. Take a moonlit summer walk with nesting sea turtles; dive sunlit waters for a colorful show of sea life.
You’ll no doubt have chance encounters with our creatures, great and small. Follow this guide to wildlife sites and seasons, and you’re sure to meet with success – and some real Florida natives.
At South Miami Dade Marina and Eco Adventures, guests can enjoy water-related activities on a rented kayak or paddleboard and admire the local wildlife amidst beautiful mangroves and peaceful views of South Dade Marina.
Another tried and true option close by to all of our Florida Kosher Villas in North Miami Beach is Oleta River State Park. A sure winner, and one that I personally highly recommend from my own experience is ROAM Oleta River Outdoor, where there are multiple options for renting single or tandem kayaks for two-hour time slots to enjoy the amazing wildlife, inlets, and views while on a relaxing float on the water. While flamingo sightings aren’t guaranteed, you’ll love the quiet waters and peaceful setting this beautiful oasis offers so nearby it all.
And while as of this article’s writing Zoo Miami and Jungle Island are closed due to Covid19, if you prefer a bit more social distancing from animals that remain enclosed in cages, try one of these great other options that are still open albeit with appropriate precautions:
Flamingo Gardens is a 60-acre botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary in one. While much smaller than some other zoos, the flip side is the easier walk for children or parents with strollers. We’ve personally found ices there for the kids that were kosher. Flamingo sightings are also a sure thing here!
The Everglades Outpost Wildlife Refuge and Rescue is a top-rated visitor attraction, where volunteers rescue and care for a variety of native and exotic wildlife such as tigers, snakes, owls, alligators, monkeys, and birds and as a bonus, often has great coupons for entry, and typically is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Prefer to get closer but with a responsible, experienced escort? The Miami Zoological Wildlife Foundation offers guided experiences and personalized tour options that have gotten rave reviews where visitors are treated to personal experiences with the resident animals in addition to the opportunity to tour the park! While a bit more costly than a typical trip to the zoo, these experiences bring you up close and personal with animals.
Other options? Everglades Holiday Park offers an amazing Alligator Show for the brave, or combine the show with an Amazing Airboat Tour to see Alligators in the Wild, while your family is safely ensconced in a protective, open-air boat.
Ready for your family to enjoy a taste of Florida’s tropical wild side? Come on down!
Hold a baby Alligator: Florida Kosher Villas. Explore Everglades National Park: Florida Kosher Villas. Kayak the Oleto River: Florida Kosher Villas. Flamingo: Florida Kosher Villas.
See for yourself the level of luxury and service so many have already experienced: Find your luxury Florida Kosher Villa today for both the Flamingos and the kosher vacation of a lifetime!